International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) President Ariel Guarco on Monday assured greater support to Indian cooperatives to create more business opportunities for exports.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by National Co-operatives Development Corporation (NCDC), which helps cooperative in the country by funding various projects, Guarco emphasised that Covid crisis had established the importance of cooperatives globally given the humane role they had played, the need to establish more cooperatives and also for a more proactive government support to them.
“Covid impact was felt on all cooperatives. What is very clear is that they are very resilient and helped to fulfill many social responsibilities,” stated Guarco, stressing that cooperatives help to meet 17 of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Underlining that ICA’s objective is to generate new businesses in tandem with ILO’s rules for working conditions, Guarco assured his organization’s commitment to “opening windows of opportunity to put cooperatives in India in touch with others globally to create business opportunities while keeping people as the centre of focus.”
Establishment of a separate ministry of cooperation by the Indian government has opened up a lot of opportunities, Guarco stated, assuring NCDC managing director Sundeep Kumar Nayak of further enhancement of collaboration for mutual benefit. ICA has around 1200 members globally. India, which has the largest number of cooperatives across different sectors, is an associate member of the global body.
On his second visit to India, Guarco described Amul and IFFCO as “headlights” in the world showcasing a path for healthy growth of cooperatives.
NCDC’s Nayak has placed three government proposals before ICA for enhancing collaboration. These include setting up an international centre for sharing best practices at the Laxmanrao Inamdar National Academy for Cooperative Research & Development (LINAC) of NCDC. The second proposal is to boost cooperative-to-cooperative exports for creating new opportunities for growth. The third proposal is for holding a special session on the new cooperative movement at the World Cooperative Congress to be held in Seoul in December.
NCDC has been playing a pivotal role in enhancing cooperative infrastructure in the country through funding value addition by cooperatives and also promoting their participation in key sectors like housing, food processing, aquaculture, etc.
Jyotindra M. Mehta, president of National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd. (NAFCUB), said the global cooperation would help to improve the understanding on many issues like income tax levied on cooperative banks and the cooperative sector.
“Exchange of views would help in better understanding and growth of cooperative movement in the country,” stated Mehta, emphasizing the need for real innovation in the cooperative sector through enabling IT platforms.
The experts at the event including Chandra Pal Singh, president, KRIBHCO, and Dileep Sanghani, president, NCUI, emphasized the need to create a cooperative brand “Proudly Co-op” which should not be restricted to India but should reach out to the global market.
Nayak stressed that such a brand would help to empower poor people, many of whom are part of various cooperatives operating across the country.